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What Is Structured Data And Why You Should Use It?

So what is structured data?

Structured data (or structured schema) are code you add to your website to give search engines, such as Google and Bing, context about your webpage and how it should classify your content. In other words, without structured data, Google only knows what your content says, not what format it’s in (e.g. podcast or blog) or what it means. For example, if you host a podcast and have a page for each episode with a description and playable link, Google only understands what the content on that page says, not what it means. Adding a podcast schema markup to your page provides Google with the information needed to contextualize your content and understand that it is a podcast episode. As a result, Google now knows your content is a podcast and will display it in Google Search results with a playable link and on Google's other podcast platforms such as Google Podcasts, and Google Assistant. Adding structured data allows Google to gain a better understanding of your content and better serve it in relevant user search queries.


What are the benefits of using structured data?

Structured data can benefit your sites visibility and traffic by allowing Google to better serve your content in more relevant formats for user search queries. One of the biggest benefits of adding structured data to your website is that it makes your content eligible to rank for Search Engine Results Page (SERP) features. SERP features allow your content to display in a more visually appealing format in search results, such as, featured snippets, related questions, tweets, and videos. Being eligible to rank for SERP features not only benefits your website's visibility by displaying your content in a more visually appealing format, it can also display your website more prominently than the competition with Featured Snippet and Knowledge Panels. As a result, users are more likely to click on your content as it is displayed more prominently and perceived as more expert, authoritative, and trustworthy. Although structured data can make your content eligible to display as a SERP feature, it does not guarantee that it will display as a SERP - that is still dependent on the quality of your site's Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and link building efforts.


Common types of structured data.

Sitelinks - Search Box (Website)

Adding a website schema markup tells Google that your website is a website and allows a site search box to appear for your organic search results.

Example of a Sitelink - Search Box from Twitter.com
Example of a Sitelink - Search Box from Twitter.com

















Organization

Example Knowledge Panel For Google
Example Knowledge Panel for Google

Adding an Organization schema markup to your website, helps Google associate your logo, brand name, and related social media profiles with your website. This information makes your website eligible to rank for a knowledge panel assuming all other criteria are met.














Article / blog

Adding an article or blog schema markup to your content lets Google know that your content is a blog and or article. This makes articles eligible to display in organic search results as top stories, or carousel rich results.

Example of top stories from Google
Example of top stories from Google










Event

Adding an event schema markup to a page allows Google to display upcoming events as an interactive rich result and displays it in a list of organized events, such as concerts, and provides information on where and when the event will take place.


Example of an event in NYC from evenbrite.com
Example of an event in NYC from evenbrite.com

How-To

Adding a how-to schema markup to a piece of content allows Google to display your how-to-guide in search results in a more visually appealing way with step by step directions and images.

Example of a How-to guide
Example of a How-to guide















Job Posting

Adding a job posting schema to your careers page allows Google to display the position in Google Jobs.

Example Google Job Posting
Example Google Job Posting


Recipe

Adding a recipe schema to your content allows Google to display your recipe in organic search results.

French Toast Recipe example
Example French Toast Recipes

Podcast

Adding a podcast schema markup to your page allows Google to display it in organic search results with a playable link and on Google's other podcast platforms such as Google Podcasts, and Google Assistant.

Example Podcast NPR
Example Podcast NPR


FAQ

Adding a FAQ schema markup to your webpage will allow Google to present your questions and answers as related questions in organic search results.

Example of People Also Ask Questions from structured data
Example of People Also Ask Questions from structured data










Speakables

Adding a speakable schema markup to your webpage allows Google to identify news content and read it out loud through Google assistant.


It's important to incorporate structured data into your SEO campaign strategy to get the most out of your SEO efforts. A well executed SEO strategy that makes use of structured data can significantly improve traffic to your website.


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